Library project moves forward without Lorig
May 7, 2010
By Tim Pfarr
Plan has standalone building without adjacent housing
The King County Library System has decided not to extend its contract with the developer Lorig Associates in the Newcastle library project, KCLS officials said.
Lorig was to build apartment units in a standalone building behind the Newcastle library, but it had not secured funding for its portion of the project. In the contract, Lorig was to find financing by this June or the deal with KCLS would dissolve.
However, KCLS started moving forward without Lorig, and it submitted a revised site plan to the city that calls for the developer’s space to remain vacant. KCLS Director Bill Ptacek said KCLS will eventually use the space in some way.
“We need to, at some point, realize that asset,” he said about the vacant space.
KCLS officials said they still hope to break ground this fall, ideally by September. They said construction would likely still take a year, yielding a fall 2011 opening.
The Newcastle Library is funded by a $172 million bond measure passed in 2004 that called for expansion and maintenance of the library system. The bond called for a library to be built in Newcastle, and KCLS had planned to build a mixed-use facility.
Mayor John Dulcich said he was thrilled the library is now slated to be built as a standalone structure.
“I am really happy about the design and look,” Dulcich said. “It’ll be a focal point and a gathering place.”
The newest details
At an April 7 meeting at City Hall, KCLS officials and the Newcastle library architects updated residents on the latest details regarding the library’s design.
The library will have seven times the standard amount of space for items put on hold, and it will have 20 fixed computer stations and empty spaces known as “cyber bars,” where patrons can bring their own computers and work. Also, the building will feature an exterior water retention tank that will hold more than 10,000 gallons of water.
In addition, of the 44 parking stalls, some will be short-term spaces for patrons just stopping by to return items. Furthermore, there will be a rain garden located at ground level near 129th Avenue Southeast.